Vocab Friday: Une Dinde

I know what you’re thinking: I’ve skipped ahead to Thanksgiving and totally missed the upcoming Halloween festivities! What the hell?!

Well, they don’t celebrate Halloween here in France, so I really don’t have anything to report on that front. In fact I’m going to Bordeaux for the holiday, and I plan on dressing up as an inebriated American who likes to speak bad french. Should be pretty easy!

But wait uh minute, the French don’t celebrate Thanksgiving either!

That is correct astute readers! Although you’d be really surprised at how many people ask about T-Day celebrations here. They’re the same people that ask me if my twin brother and I are identical (um, we’re not).

The point is, this here is my blog, and I want to take a minute to talk turkey. You see, I’ve been reading this book about factory farming practices and it’s totally rocking my world. In it, Jonathan Safran Foer makes an exceptionally rational, well researched case for the urgent need to totally change the way we think about, buy, slaughter and consume meat. Which believe me, is a tough thing to follow when you dream nightly about the best steak you ever had. But his words make sense. The factory farming business in America is mostly abhorrent and is in dire need of an overhaul.

Also I’m a tree hugging dirty hippie at heart, but shhhhhh, don’t tell.

Anyway, upon reading about the franken-turkeys that are pretty much the only birds available at the store (yep, even most of your organic, free range, slept in a bed of golden hay and received daily waddle massage turkeys are the same breed as a standard Butterball), I became inspired to find a heritage breed turkey.

And being the big nerd that I am, I proceeded to go into deep research mode, reading countless pages about historic breeds and wild turkey provenance. I spent an entire afternoon trolling through the Maryland Turkey Farmer’s listings and the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy site. So when I finally settled on a small place raising Standard Bronzes, I dashed off my email order with the zeal of a woman who was smugly sure she was about to get her hands on the ultimate Thanksgiving Master Bite.

I was quite pleased with myself. I even challenged my sister to a turkey taste-off, to see if this heritage breed stuff was really worth it. But the next day, a troubling email from the farmer informed me that my search for real turkey had hit a brick wall. Literally:

I have no heritage birds this year. Fireworks from the Antietam Battlefield scared them so bad they flew into netting and sides of pen killing themselves.



Oh my. How does one respond to something like that? Please give my regards to the families of the birds in question? I was at a loss for words. So I settled on:

I’m so sorry for your loss. Better luck next year!

And then I found a butcher selling Kentucky Bourbons in Fredricksburg. They seem like less hysterical birds anyway. Plus, I like anything to do with bourbon. So barring any unforeseen turkey tragedies, we’ll be having one helluva heritage Thanksgiving dinner. I hope to hell it tastes good!

*    *    *

une dinde

Pronunciation: oon dahnde (but real nasaly)

Definition: Turkey. Turkey Lurkey. Gobbler. Hokie even. As in,

“Perhaps next year we’ll make sure our heritage dindes have ear plugs for the 4th of July festivities.”


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  1. Connie Gabrielli

    We soooo need to get you south on my next trip. Where, you can literally “trip” over local farmers raising en plein d’air the turkey of your dreams. Frogland has turkeys galore. We just need to get you a source. If you want that, I’ll put you in touch with my people. Bisous and Happy bird. Does Bourbon go with Bordeaux?

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